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Denys d'Halicarnasse, Les Antiquités romaines, livre VI


Texte grec :

[6,15] Τοῖς δὲ σωφρονεστάτοις οὐκ ἀσφαλὲς τὸ κινδύνευμα εἶναι ἐφαίνετο, ἀνδράσιν ἀγαθοῖς τὰ πολέμιά τε καὶ νεωστὶ τὴν Λατίνων τοσαύτην δύναμιν ἀραμένοις ἄνευ συμμάχων ὁμόσε χωρεῖν μέλλοντας τὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν μεγίστων κίνδυνον ἐν ἀλλοτρίᾳ ποιεῖσθαι γῇ, ἔνθα εἴ τι συμβαίη πταῖσμα οὐδεμίαν ἕξουσι καταφυγὴν ἀσφαλῆ· τῆς δ´ οἴκαδε σωτηρίας προνοεῖσθαι μᾶλλον ἠξίουν οὗτοι διὰ ταχέων καὶ μέγα κέρδος ὑπολαμβάνειν, εἰ μηδὲν ἀπολαύσουσιν ἐκ τῆς στρατείας κακόν. ἑτέροις δὲ τούτων μὲν οὐδέτερον ἐδόκει χρῆναι ποιεῖν, νεανικὸν μὲν ἀποφαίνουσι τὸ πρόχειρον τῆς ἐπὶ τὸν ἀγῶνα ὁρμῆς, αἰσχρὸν δὲ τὸ παράλογον τῆς ἐπὶ τὰ οἰκεῖα φυγῆς, ὡς κατ´ εὐχὴν ληψομένων τῶν πολεμίων, ὁπότερον ἂν αὐτῶν ποιήσωσι. γνώμη δὲ τούτων ἦν ἐν μὲν τῷ παρόντι κρατύνασθαι τὸν χάρακα καὶ τὰ πρὸς τὸν ἀγῶνα εὐτρεπίζεσθαι, πέμποντας δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους Οὐολούσκους δυεῖν θάτερον ἀξιοῦν ἢ δύναμιν ἑτέραν πέμπειν ἀξιόχρεων ἐπὶ Ῥωμαίους, ἢ καὶ τὴν ἀπεσταλμένην μετακαλεῖν. ἡ δὲ πιθανωτάτη τοῖς πλείστοις φανεῖσα καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν τέλει κυρωθεῖσα γνώμη ταῦτα παρῄνει, πέμψαι τινὰς εἰς τὸν χάρακα τῶν Ῥωμαίων κατασκόπους ὀνόματι πρεσβευτῶν ἕξοντας τὸ ἀσφαλές, οἳ δεξιώσονται τὸν ἡγεμόνα καὶ φράσουσιν, ὅτι σύμμαχοι Ῥωμαίων ἥκοντες ἀπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ τῶν Οὐολούσκων ἄχθονται μὲν ὑστερήσαντες τῆς μάχης, ὡς οὐδεμίαν ἢ μικράν τινα τῆς προθυμίας χάριν οἰσόμενοι, τῇ δ´ {ἐξ} ἐκείνων τύχῃ μέγαν ἀγῶνα δίχα συμμάχων κατωρθωκότων συνήδονται· ἐξαπατήσαντες δ´ αὐτοὺς τῇ φιλανθρωπίᾳ τῶν λόγων καὶ πιστεύειν ὡς φίλοις σφίσι κατασκευάσαντες, ἅπαντα κατασκέψονται καὶ δηλώσουσιν ἀφικόμενοι πλῆθός τ´ αὐτῶν καὶ ὁπλισμοὺς καὶ παρασκευὰς καὶ εἴ τι κατὰ νοῦν ἔχουσι πράττειν. ὅταν δὲ ταῦτ´ ἀκριβῶς σφίσι γένηται φανερά, τότε προθεῖναι βουλήν, εἴτ´ ἐπιχειρεῖν αὐτοῖς ἄμεινον εἴη προσμεταπεμψαμένοις δύναμιν ἑτέραν, εἴτε καὶ τὴν παροῦσαν ἀπάγειν.

Traduction française :

[6,15] But to the most prudent among them it did not seem a safe risk to attack without allies men who were valiant warriors and had just destroyed so great an army of the Latins, as they would be putting everything to the hazard in a foreign country where, if any misfortune happened, they would have no place of refuge. These advised, therefore, to provide rather for a safe retreat to their own country as soon (p285) as possible and to look upon it as a great gain if they sustained no loss from this expedition. But still others disapproved of both these courses, declaring that readiness to rush into battle was mere youthful bravado, while unreasoning flight back to their own country was shameful; for, whichever of these courses they took, the enemy would regard it as being just what they desired. The opinion of these, therefore, was that at present they ought to fortify their camp and get everything in readiness for a battle, and that, dispatching messengers to the rest of the Volscians, they should ask them to do one of the two things, either to send another army that would be a match for that of the Romans or to recall the army they had already sent out. But the opinion that prevailed with the majority and received the sanction of those in authority was to send spies to the Roman camp, assured of safety under the title of ambassadors, who should greet the general and say that, as allies of the Romans sent by the Volscian nation, they were sorry they had come too late for the battle, since they would now received little or no thanks for their zeal; but anyway they congratulated the Romans upon their good fortune in having won a great battle without the assistance of allies; then, after the ambassadors had tricked the Romans by the friendliness of their words and had got them to confide in the Volscians as their friends, they were to spy out everything and bring back word concerning the Romans' strength, their arms, their preparations, and anything they were planning to do. And when the Volscians should be thoroughly acquainted with these matters, they should then take counsel whether (p287) it was better to send for another army and attack the Romans or to return home with their present force.

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Dernière mise à jour : 9/01/2007